Well, the end of a fun and educational chapter has now come to a close. The green truck was towed off into the rainclouds yesterday, after I picked some final parts off Friday night. I’d been trying to get the passenger wheel well off since last weekend, and of course it proved to be more difficult than I figured it would. The spot welds came out easily but the lower edge was part of a sandwich between the inner fender skirt and the lower lip of the rear floor, so I wound up trimming about 2″ from the bottom of the well and carving a big hole into the front of the C-pillar to release the whole thing. I have no idea if I’ll ever need it for anything, but it’s a very complex compound curve that I’d never be able to replicate in a million years, so I’m keeping it.

Then I put two good tires on the back of the truck, put the one good tire back on the front, and threw the other two junk tires in the front floorboards with the spare bench setback that was taking up space in the garage. I threw a bunch of other junk inside, vacuumed out the interior, and tied everything down with some old rope.

That evening, a guy reached out on the Binder Planet to ask if I was keeping the square seat bases on the floor, and I told him they were going with the truck the following morning. After thinking it over, I figured I might be able to beat the rain if I got an early start the next morning (the pickup was scheduled between 1-3PM) so I took the dog with me to Harbor Freight and picked up another spot weld cutter, ate some breakfast, and got to work. It was drizzling but the roof of the truck made for a nice cover, so I set up camp inside and started on the passenger side. I got both mounts out in about an hour, then tied everything back down.

When the truck arrived, it was a newer Chevy pickup with a trick wheel lift boom. The driver backed up to the truck and had the front wheels off the ground before he even got out of the cab—the whole thing was done with a remote control and a monitor on the dashboard. That must be how repossessions are done these days. There was a little bit of confusion about the lack of a VIN, but I consulted my records and wrote it down on a Post-It for them. He gave me a $100 bill, I signed the paper, and they were on their way. I really felt a pang of guilt about cutting up and selling the green truck, but I only have so much room and spare time—and it was more of a project, in the long run, than the red truck. So it’s out of the driveway, leaving behind an oil slick and a pile of rust that I have to go sweep up when the rain stops.

So I did order a bunch of gaskets from IHPA with my counter credit last week: a rear quarter window gasket, and the pillar and outer door gaskets. With these in hand, I should be able to both reinstall the rear window, which will get rid of a 1″ gap at the bottom where water has been trickling in and down the inner fender, and around all four doors. The door gaskets on the red truck are all in rough shape and I really want to seal the outer edges to keep as much water out as possible. I’ll have to peel all the old stuff off, clean the gunk off down to the paint, and reinstall. For two of the doors I have to actually adjust the hinges before I can do anything else—the driver’s door in particular needs some serious attention. One of the gaskets is on backorder, so they’re going to wait until it’s in stock before they ship the whole thing out.

The other gasket I ordered was for a different IH product completely: I found a cheap source for the e-shaped gasket on the beer fridge, which has been leaking for a while now. I measured the amount and ordered two extra feet in case of stupidity, and that should be enough to get things started. That one has already shipped, so I should be able to make a project of that this week.

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Date posted: May 5, 2024 | Filed under Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on She’s Out Of My Life

This year, our usual gang of truck nerds couldn’t make the date for the IH Nationals in June, so we decided to switch things up and go to the Harvester Homecoming, which is held a little further west in Fort Wayne, Indiana. That event is held on the grounds of the original IH assembly plant, so I’ll be taking Peer Pressure back to her birthplace. (IH Nationals is now held at the Truck Assembly Plant in Springfield, where the Travelall was built). It’s in the beginning of August, which will prove to be a hot drive, but nothing we haven’t done before. And that’ll give me a the summer to really shake out the cobwebs in the truck, which didn’t get run a whole lot last year. None of us have been to the Homecoming so we don’t know what to expect, but it looked like the event was fun and they had a big turnout last year.

* * *

DJI has released a cheap, tiny new drone which skirts under the legal requirement to get FAA registration. It’s called the DJI Mini 4K, and it can shoot 4K at 30fps for 30 minutes and has a range of 6 miles. The most important thing is that it’s priced at ~$300 for the basic kit, which is very tempting. Hauling the old Phantom 2 around in its giant Pelican case was a pain in the ass, and I’m sure the advances in stabilization, camera technology, and basic drone technology would make that old Phantom feel like a box camera under a kite. File that under toys I don’t need but would be fun to play with.

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Date posted: May 2, 2024 | Filed under photography, Scout | Leave a Comment »

This is an update of the second half of last week—roughly Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, where I'm continuing to fight the steering box and column until I got it off, and stripping other parts off the engine and interior.

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Date posted: April 18, 2024 | Filed under Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Video Update

Last week, while considering the two trucks I’d learned about in New York, I got a text from Bennett:

The owner is a friend’s family and they wanted it gone before it collected more tickets from the local constabulary; I told Bennett I wanted it and asked for his help in going to get it. He got in touch with his brother for the towing rig and a plan was hatched.

Sunday morning I met Bennett over at his storage yard so that we could pull the Hudson off the trailer, park it, and use that for hauling. Before we could leave, we had to replace the hot lead to his trailer winch, which took some surgery and delicate tinkering. Moving the Hudson was pretty easy (we’re used to this procedure by now) so we were on the road north by 9:30.

The truck was at the bottom of a tricky driveway at the end of a fast curve, so I stood outside and stopped traffic while Bennett expertly backed the trailer up the hill (digging the bottom lip all the way up) on his first try. He backed it down the lane to stop at the rear bumper of the Travelall.

She looked worse in person than in the photos (big surprise!) Like she’d been at sea for years and had been beached in a storm. The owners of the house came outside and watched as we busied ourselves setting up the ramps and unloading tools.

The first issue was that it was on four flat tires: two of which were questionable and two of which looked like a dinosaur had been snacking on them. I put my compressor on the “good” ones and got the passenger’s front to fill and hold, while the driver’s side rear would fill and empty at almost the same rate. So: it was up to the winch. We aligned the ramps and yanked the truck backwards up to their edges, and realized the trailer hitch would never clear the deck of the trailer. But we’re pros at this: we stacked up some scrap wood and propped them with 2×4’s to lengthen the ramps and make the angle work better. I put a long board between the hitch and the trailer, levered it over the edge, and we were quickly up on the deck. Turned out the one good tire was bolted to a drum which had frozen, so it was effectively useless.

We pulled it back as far as possible but knew having the engine over the rear axles was dangerous, so we made a plan to flip it around as soon as we found a good-sized parking lot. After strapping it down tightly, we said our thank-yous and I went back out to the street to cover traffic. Bennett got up a head of steam and came down out of the driveway at an angle to avoid getting high-centered, and we were soon on our way.

Down the road we found an empty restaurant parking lot with a couple of steel posts that would be perfect for our next trick: pulling the truck off the trailer, then loading it on facing front. He backed it up to a post which we fastened a strap around, and he gently pulled forward to pull the trailer out from underneath the truck. The front tire—the one with air—still wouldn’t budge. We used the strap to pull the truck backwards to clear the post, and Bennett turned the trailer around to meet the front of the truck.

When we’d gotten the Travelall about 1/2 of the way up the trailer he remarked that he was impressed with how well the battery was holding up on the winch; fifteen seconds later the winch began to sputter as the power dimmed. We dicked around with ratchet straps and a come-along that was definitely not strong enough, and finally unhitched the Ford, pulled it up to the front of the trailer, and used jumper cables to juice the battery enough to get the truck winched all the way forward.

From there it was easy to strap the truck down and get on the road. After a quick lunch at the diner up the street, we drove back to Maryland through howling wind and snow showers to my house, where I’d moved the red Travelall backwards to make room.

Here we used a similar method to get the truck off the trailer: we hooked my tow strap to the telephone pole and the tow hitch on the truck and Bennett simply pulled the Ford forward. We quickly threw a tarp over the carcass to hide its beauty from my neighbor, who is coincidentally trying to sell his house—sorry!—and packed things up. Then we drove back to his storage lot to help get the Hudson back up on the trailer. We got everything covered and strapped down, and took off for home.

I haven’t had a ton of time to look the truck over, but here’s what I see so far:

The outside sheet metal is all Pennsylvania-good. Meaning it has rust in many of the same places the red truck does: in the front fenders at the bottom and over the eyebrows, in the front grille below the marker lights, behind the rear wheels at the bottom of the arches, and in the bottom corners under the taillights (mine is solid here). There’s good chrome trim around the outside which looks like it might all be intact. There’s one good chrome rocker trim on the passenger side—the driver’s side was ripped off at some point. Both bumpers are in excellent shape, and the rear bumper has a set of inset reverse lights. There’s a beautiful roof rack and luggage rail setup on the roof. It’s a single-tailgate model but we can’t figure out how to open it—there’s no handle anywhere, and this truck came without a key. The drip rail is in excellent shape given how long this truck had been sitting. There’s a lovely patina of the original IH green, buffed down to red primer, splashed with yellow lichen across the whole truck.

Inside, it’s a 4-speed stick, and the furnishings are all Custom—it says this on the dashboard. Fabric door cards, fancy steering wheel, padded dashboard, and deluxe headliner. The front bench is shot, and the rear bench had been folded forward, so I can’t see what shape that’s in. Water has gotten into the truck from the driver’s door seal so the front floors and seat are wet. In the far back, there’s what looks like a heat or A/C unit sunk into the wheelwell on the passenger side, and a square toolbox on the driver’s side. The chrome trim for the headliner inside is all intact, and there are two visible dome lights.

A quick look under the hood revealed a V8 with power steering, and a large brake booster, as well as a mount for an A/C compressor. It’s IFS up front, which means there’s no leaf springs for me to grab, but I can definitely pull the rears to have them re-arched.

So, the next steps are to do an inventory of what’s good and what’s not, and start pulling parts off the truck. I have no title and no bill of sale, although the owner said he’d look for the former. Our cursory inspection showed a lot of rust and I’m sure it’s deeper than it looks, so stripping this truck down to the shell won’t bother me too much. Jen doesn’t want it lingering in the driveway, and neither do I, so I think I’ll sell some Scout parts to make room for Travelall parts. I’ve already dug two spare fenders out of storage, and I can sell one set of spare doors to free up a lot more space—Bennett said he might be interested in them, in which case they are his for the asking.

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Date posted: March 11, 2024 | Filed under friends, Scout, Travelall, Trip Logs | Comments Off on Recovery Mission

I’ve had a bunch of shorter clips in the hopper for a while, and figured I’d collect them into something resembling an update. On the project side of things, I used a heat gun to remove all of the old bondo on the driver’s side fender, then cut off the pop rivets used to hold a crappy patch in place installed Back in The Day. When I had that out, I cut a larger square out to get things ready for a proper butt-welded patch. The other thing I had to do was to try and bend the rear edge of the fender outward and back into original position. At some point somebody really bashed it inwards so it never looked correct when it was hung on the truck. I was able to get it mostly back into place, and used my everyday hammer to do some dent removal. At this point I want to get an actual bodywork hammer and bag to pound out the larger dents instead of trying to hide sins with filler. Once I had that cleaned up, I cut down a section of metal and tacked it into place. I’m going to have to finesse the bottom edge a little bit—or grind this off and re-orient it further down—but it looks like it’ll go in pretty easily.

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Date posted: February 20, 2024 | Filed under Scout, Travelall, Welding | Comments Off on February Update

I’ve had an idea for a T-shirt design bubbling in my head for a while now, and while I was working on video editing (and waiting for files to render) last week, I put it together in Illustrator:  a profile view of a Travelall with the script I’ve already built underneath. This time I built two designs—one for light-colored shirts and one for dark, which is more work but avoids a pet peeve of mine, when printers just reverse out a design in white and the negative spaces aren’t correctly negative. The other big leap I took was to post it up in a couple of Travelall-specific groups on Facebook, the first time I’ve posted there (other than Marketplace) in years. Within 24 hours I sold seven shirts and got two requests for custom truck colors and one for a coffee mug, which was easy to do because of the way I set the file up. Here’s to hoping the orders keep coming in; I think I might do a Scout II next—until the VW group sends me a cease-and-desist.

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Date posted: January 21, 2024 | Filed under Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Commerce

I spent most of Saturday sitting on the couch while my COVID vaccine made me feel sore and loopy, but it rained all day so I wasn't that upset. Sunday was partly cloudy but not actively raining, so after getting the dog out for a walk and doing some small errands, I got back out to the garage to keep working. At this point the box project is just finishing up small details; I got a set of locks from Amazon and had plans for how the doors should close. The plan was to weld in a set of doubler plates underneath to add support, then carefully cut holes in the doors and widen them on two sides to accept the lock barrels, which are notched on either side to prevent them from spinning when the key is inserted. After doing a test run on scrap metal, I got this done pretty easily and used one of Dad's old files to widen the holes. After burning them in, and test-fitting everything, I carefully cut notches in each of the square tube to accept the latch arms. The passenger side was just short of the arm so I had to add a small plate on the face of the square tube to catch it. I did some experimenting with thin strips of metal to see what I liked for doorstops, but everything I had seemed way too big or wide to work. Conscious of avoiding anything with sharp edges, I settled on a length of 1/4 rod from a different project. I cut 6" sections and welded them at the lock ends, then ground down the high spots so that everything is smooth. Next, I wanted to reinforce the hinges, so I drilled three holes through the plate inside the box and welded the resulting hole shut. This way each hinge is borrowing from the plate but I'm not adding ugly beginner welds to the outside edges. Finally I put a plate in between the two hinge bars from the bottom to make a shallow tray for tools or other gear. I'll cut a rectangle of floormat to go in there after things get painted. I'm almost ready for paint. The last thing to be done is to weld in a set of gussets/mounting points on the backside that will go through the vertical wall on the rear step. Out of curiosity I called a powdercoating shop nearby and was quoted $100 from a disinterested shop foreman, so I think I'll stick with my budget rattlecan approach. So now I'll practice my sanding and filling skills to clean up the outside. Outside in the truck, I pulled the wood floor back up and kept grinding at the rust. The needle scaler did all the work, and I made it all the way forward up the frame to the rear step. I was able to get encapsulator on everything before I had to close up for dinner, and I left the floor out of the truck to air it out. I have to pull each rear wheel in order to reach the outside of the frame rails completely, but I've gotten to most everything I can with the floor up. After calling Super Scout Specialists twice in two weeks to inquire on having a new dash wiring harness built, they told me the guy who builds their harnesses is two months behind and hasn't been in the shop in two weeks. I thought about it over the weekend and figured I'd better place an order now to get the thing sometime this year, as I haven't found anyone else building them for a competitive price (scoutparts.com wants to charge an extra $3-400 over what SSS is asking; no thanks.) I've actually got a harness from a '68 pickup on the bench downstairs, so I theoretically could swap it in for what I have; I don't know whether or not they updated circuits between '63 and '68, though. Wiring this thing is going to take a lot of time and learning. Meanwhile, my friend Ray from the BP has a set of five headliner bows up in Massachusetts he's going to sell me, which should provide a solution to a future problem: what to do with the insulation glued to the ceiling, and how to cover that up. There's an aluminum J-channel in later Travelalls that acted as a trim ring but from what he tells me it's very hard to remove and would be impossible to ship. I think I might experiment with some thin Luan covered with fabric and use these bows to hold things up.

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Date posted: October 16, 2023 | Filed under Repairs, Scout, Travelall, Welding | Comments Off on Locked Box

The beginning of the week was quiet, but I put almost two full days in over the weekend.

With the glass and other stuff out of the back of the Travelall, it’s much easier to start some of the preventative maintenance I’ve wanted to do to the rear frame and crossmembers. Saturday afternoon I lifted the rear bench seat out and pulled up the plywood floor. Then I put on some ear protection, fired up the compressor and the needle scaler, and got to work. Starting from the back I took as much scale off the unpainted metal as I could find, making my way to an area over the rear axle. Then I brushed on Rust Converter to everything I’d cleared and let it sit. I started around 4 and finished when the sun was setting, so there’s still a lot more to do—and I haven’t even touched the underside yet—but it’s already looking much better under there.

Reorganizing the garage a bit, I stumbled across an extra box of weatherstripping and realized it was doing me no good here. So I put it up on Marketplace and got a pretty immediate response from a guy in Washington, who was also interested in my old brake booster until I did the research and learned it would be something like $80 to ship it out to him in Washington. So the windshield gasket is on its way to him, and the brake booster remains in the Heavy Metal corner of the garage next to the old starters, spare Dana 20, and other stuff.

A brake has been instrumental to the plans I drew up for the doors on the seat base, because I wanted to bend a quarter-inch of metal along the edges on the three sides to add structural stability and make it look better. My Harbor Freight brake is woefully unprepared to bend 18 ga. metal at the measurement I need. On Sunday I met up with Bennett over at our friend Brian’s shop to get a couple of projects done. Bennett was there to clean up the carburetor on his Hudson project as well as tinker with Heavy D, which has been sitting there for several months waiting for a windshield replacement. I was there to use the heavy-duty finger brake Brian inherited with the pole barn shop on his property.

I started messing with the brake and putting a couple of scrap pieces through it to learn how it worked and where the sweet spot was. There was only one finger clamp on it, so the first long section of metal I bent didn’t stay still and bent unevenly. I took a break, had a donut, and Bennett suggested looking around the shop for the other fingers. I found them along the back wall and installed three of the fattest I could find, then put another long test sheet through. When those results looked much better, I marked out some new metal and started bending. We had to do some creative adjustment to the brake, because the bending plate was so close to the lever plate it wouldn’t release the metal when I’d bent the second side. This involved unscrewing the plate from the bottom to release my metal, but it worked. After I got two doors bent and test-fitted, I helped Bennett mess  around with Heavy D, got it started for the first time in forever, and installed a choke cable before we both headed for home.

Back at the house, I investigated how I could bend the short edge with the tools on hand. I’ve got a cheap wide vise I bought from Harbor Freight back in the day, and after some testing I realized I could bend the width I needed with that and a pair of vise-grips blocked into place, keeping the entire width of the metal on basically the same plane. After making the initial bend, I had to hammer the center sections flatter with a combination of deadblow hammer, wood blocks, and metal scraps. When I had it flat and straight, I welded the corners up, cleaned them up with the flap disc, and trimmed the length of each to allow for the width of the hinge knuckles.

When those were in place, I tacked the hinges in place and test fit the doors; all my cuts looked good. So I flipped the hinges, cut some tack holes in the doors, and welded those into place. If I had to do it over again, I’d have put the weld on the underside, but I think it looks pretty good either way.

So the doors are in place, and next I need to cut and install a pair of stops opposite the hinge side for the doors to sit on. I’m going to wait until the locks come in next week so that I can design around those. I was originally going to cap off that gap in the middle, but now I’m considering adding a plate underneath to make it a shallow tool well to utilize some dead space.

The other thing I spent a bunch of time looking for last week was a hinge of the proper size for mounting the seat to the box. The hinges on the seat base are beefy; the pin is 3/8″ in diameter and the knuckles are thick. I found a lot of hinges with the right pin size but nothing with a leaf the proper length—the interlocking sections of the hinge I’ve got are 1.5″ wide, and most industrial hinges I’ve found with that pin size are only 1″. While I was at Brian’s, I was looking at his scrap pile and found a beefy hinge with a 3/8″ pin and a 2″x2″ leaf—exactly what I had been looking for. I texted Brian about it and he told me to take it with me.

Monday I had off for Columbus Day, so I got back outside and kept rolling. First I cut two hinges down to the right size, trimmed the knuckle widths, and test fit them on the box. When I liked what I saw, I tacked them in and fit them to the seat. With that confirmation I burned them both into place and cleaned up the welds. The plates will get two bolts through the square tube for extra structural support, but I like where things are sitting (literally) now.

Then I got out the needle scaler and wire wheel and continued working on the chassis while I had the rear floor out. Before finishing up for the day, I brushed on some Rust Encapsulator. I’ll finish coat it with chassis black when it’s all ready, but there’s a lot more to go.

Meanwhile, I’ve tried removing old upholstery adhesive on the vertical surfaces with every chemical I can think of and a rubber eraser wheel with no success. Frustrated, I tried a small patch with the wire wheel and found that with a very light touch I could get most of the old crust off without going through the paint to metal—there are a few places where the paint is very light—but it mostly came off with little damage. I was always going to respray the inside anyway, so I’m not worried about patchy areas. It’s nice to have that stuff cleaned up, for sure. I’m going to see if Hobo Freight sells a plastic bristle wheel for an angle grinder and see if that’s more gentle on the paint.

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Date posted: October 9, 2023 | Filed under friends, Scout, Seats, Travelall, Welding | Comments Off on Weekly Roundup, 10.8

A Travelall popped up in Pennsylvania on Marketplace yesterday, and I of course clicked to take a closer look. It’s a 1962 4×4 with a transplanted 392 in the engine bay, and originally came from Colorado. There’s only one shot of the inside and none of the engine bay. It’s got a liberal coating of what the kids call “patina”, which is to say, the Colorado sun blasted off all of the paint on the horizontal surfaces. There are a couple of underside shots which look very similar in condition to the red bus in my driveway, and there’s rot in the front fenders in the same places. The seller wants $17,500. As a 2WD, my truck isn’t quite as desirable, but if I can get the red bus up and running for half of that cost, I figure I’ll be far ahead of the market.

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Date posted: October 3, 2023 | Filed under Inspiration, Scout, Travelall | Comments Off on Market Research

With the weather getting colder, my chances to take the Scout out on long trips get slimmer. Looking at the forecast Saturday morning, I knew it would be iffy, but I haven’t had her out on any adventures pretty much all year due to the exhaust leak. Now that she’s fixed, I figured I’d take her on a shakedown run to my father-in-law’s house to see how she ran. The short answer is that she did great. We covered 200 miles with absolutely no problems at all; the engine is strong and smooth and sounds great, just like I remember. It was overcast in the morning so I decided to take the top down and pack the bikini top just in case, but I wound up leaving it down for the whole day. Choosing the Scout for a trip like this basically comes down to convenience versus fun. The Hondas are dry and climate controlled, and obviously the gas mileage is better. The Scout requires advance planning and a keen eye on the weather. I reviewed the forecast carefully this morning and saw that there would be sun down south, so I made sure to pack wet weather gear, a pair of shorts, and a fleece. What I didn’t remember was a warm hat of some kind, so when I left my FIL’s house I stopped at the local Marshall’s and picked up a cheap one. I wound up putting it on about 20 miles up the road, and stored it in the lockbox between the seats, where it will now be the truck hat. I will say that in a lot of ways, the Scout is a superior vehicle for long-distance travel than the Accord. The seats are nicer (thanks, Chrysler!), the wheel is much more comfortable, and the seating position is better. I can see around me better for obvious reasons. Steering is two-finger thanks to power steering; the only thing that gets funky is hitting expansion joints at freeway speeds and sudden braking; the left side is grabbing before the right, which requires some careful adjustment. These days, I get more and more looks from people. I had a guy roll up next to me in a pickup at a light and ask how old it was. A black dude in a slammed BMW wagon pulled up alongside and gave me a thumbs up; I pointed back at him and returned the sentiment. A couple of dudes in a big white work truck honked and waved as I overtook them. Some small issues: I noticed that the temp gauge isn’t working anymore, so I’m going to swap out the temp sender and see if that makes a difference. I had to use the wipers coming back up 695 into Catonsville (home by the hair of my chin) and saw that the secondary arm on the driver’s wiper isn’t connected anymore, so I need to get a new retainer clip for that. The headlights definitely need to be adjusted, but they’re still very dim. An LED upgrade might be in order next year. Overall, I’m thrilled to have her back on the road, and I can’t wait to have some more adventures.

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Date posted: October 1, 2023 | Filed under Scout, Trip Logs | Comments Off on Roadworthy